Today Isabella made her first holy communion.
It was an absolutely beautiful day.
Last night as I was tucking her in Isabella said, “I’m just so overwhelmed thinking about it all!” She wasn’t quite sure she wanted the day to come, though she was also quite excited.
Sophie was also very excited. She kept exclaiming about what an amazing day it was, how beautiful Bella looked. You’d almost have thought it was Sophie’s big day.
Her dress and veil borrowed from one of her Campbell cousins, who wore it on their first communions. Or another way of thinking of it, they were provided by her godparents, Dom’s sister Evelyn and her husband Pete. (My mother-in-law just reminded me that the dress belonged originally to Dom’s older sister, Francesca. But Evy bought the veil to match the dress.)
Last night her godfather, my brother-in-law Pete wrote on Facebook: “Big day tomorrow. It’s Super Sunday… By super, we mean our goddaughter Bella receives her First Holy Communion. Touchdown!” I am so blessed to be a part of Dom’s awesome family.
I was really tired this morning after Anthony woke me up half a dozen times. He kept moving back and forth from his bed to the recliner and then back to his bed and back to the recliner again. I think he had an ear ache, but he also said his back hurt and his bottom hurt, so who knows. Anyway, I confess I dozed off during the homily– Bella elbowed me awake at one point– but I loved the bit about how Father Currie’s mother, when asked about parenthood by another of her sons who was about to be married replied, “You don’t belong to me.” She went on to explain that her children are gifts from God. Oh so very true. On this day when we remember how Mary and Joseph brought their firstborn child to the Temple to present him to God, I bring my firstborn to the Church and God presents Himself to her.
She isn’t mine. God has committed her to my charge to bring her up for Him and to prepare her for eternal life. She is His. I pray every day that He gives me grace, strength, wisdom, judgment for this most sacred duty of guiding Bella and all of them toward an eternal union with Hm. A lovely meditation for this lovely feast, this beautiful celebration of a milestone in my little girl’s life.
Father Currie also grabbed Lucia, his favorite baby, and walked around with her as he meditated on Simeon holding the baby Jesus. Lucy slept through the whole thing. Every time he holds her, I melt. You know a man is a good priest when he’d make an awesome father.
Anyway, Bella’s communion was beautiful. We took up the gifts and she was poised and knew exactly what to do. She was very pleased to go up all by herself– she didn’t expect that because I’d sort of forgotten to tell her. And no my eyes were not completely dry.
We got Isabella a crucifix and a rosary book for her special day. I let her pick out the ones she wanted, so they weren’t a surprise. I guess we’re not really that into surprises. She picked out a lovely little silver crucifix with a gold corpus. And a scriptural rosary book with black and white pictures. I asked if she didn’t want one with colored pictures and she said it would be too distracting. She doesn’t read well enough yet to decipher the prayers, but she knows her Our Father and Hail Mary and Glory Be and can do the mysteries by looking at the pictures, so she’s pretty set for now.
My sister got Bella a beautiful St Isabella medal. I’m still super excited about this because St Isabella medals didn’t exist at Catholic shops when I was younger. And it’s probably meant to be Isabella of Portugal, but she’s got a crown and could just as easily be (Blessed) Isabella of France.
Bella also got nice gifts from all the relatives. My parents sent a set with a missal, rosary, satin handbag, scapular, bookmark, and pin. Her godparents gave her an olive wood cross from the Holy Land. Other aunts and uncles gave her a cross-shaped box and a statue of a kneeling girl in a communion dress. And I think there were some other things too, but I was making veggie dip while Bella was opening the presents.
We had a lovely party afterward. Cousins and cousins and cousins, though by no means all of them. Still there were sixteen children between the ages of thirteen and one month old. It really was a joy to see Bella running and playing with them. And at one point I realized with a bit of surprise that she’s actually one of the “big kids” now. While the littlest ones toddled about and played on their own she was throwing snowballs with the older boys and girls.
And it was a joy to talk with everyone. To remember what a beautiful family I married into, how blessed I am to have wonderful brothers- and sisters-in-law to help us raise our children well. I really love spending time with all of them. And I was just a little bit sad at all the relatives who couldn’t be with us. Especially that none of the grandparents could be here.
After all her cousins left, Bella said, “I just wish this day would never end!” Sophie echoed the sentiment, saying that this was the most special day because Bella was so beautiful and it was so wonderful to have everyone here. And what a shame it was Bella had to change out of her beautiful dress. Oh Sophie was all about the beautiful dress, but in a beautiful way that only thought of Bella and never of herself.
Thanks be to God for this joyful and blessed day.